Who has the Balance of Power

When it comes to Negotiation

Who has the Balance of Power rules and really comes into play in almost any decision we make. It is critical, although you may not be aware, in all forms of influencing and especially in Negotiation.

Who has the balance of power is determined by 4 factors Physical, Mental, Verbal and Time



  • How do you look
    • What is your physical appearance
    • Do you dominate the space or simply exist in it?
    • Do you look remarkable, memorable?
    • Do you look confident
  • How big is your company – the business you represent
  • How big is your idea?
  • What are the risks
    • to me
    • to my company
    • to you
  • Time constraints
    • How tight is the time for me?
    • How difficult will this be for you to deliver within my time scales


  • Your Knowledge
    • Compared to the other options or the competition
  • How what you want fits my needs
    • Immediate
    • Future
  • How you understand the impact of your idea on me
  • How you understand the decision-making process
  • How empathetic you are to my needs
    • Do you understand me
    • Do you care
  • How big is your proposal?
  • Is your vision/proposal
    • Thought leading
    • Far reaching
    • Unique
    • World leading
    • Special
  • Will it help me achieve my aims?
  • Do you understand ME
  • How well do you Listen to the world?
  • How well do you listen to ME?


  • How well do you articulate?
    • Your idea
    • Your understanding
    • Your plan
    • Your understanding of ME
  • Confidence in your delivery
  • Your personal history and experience
    • Your personal providence
  • Your company history and experience
    • Your company providence
    • Your trading history / reputation
    • Your Credible pricing structures
    • Your Terms and conditions




Time constraints

  • How tight is the time for me?
  • How difficult will this be for you to deliver within my time scales
  • Impact of not delivering on time
    • For Me
    • For You

The importance of preparation

The most important thing to consider when contemplating the balance of power in any situation is that the preparation and set up is critical. In any negotiation you need to consider very carefully

  • Where the balance of power actually lies
  • What are the elements of power you have?
  • What are the elements of power the buyer has?

One of the simplest tools to use is

The Power Matrix

Balance of Power:

Simply fill in the bottom left hand quarter with the ratio of power – always you first – like football home teams – so 40:60 would suggest your belief that the other party has 60% of the power and by default a 60% chance of winning the argument. If the score read 60:40 – it would show you felt you had a higher chance of success.

Your Power

Next fill in where you perceive where your strengths lie [Top left] followed by where the other party’s strengths lie [Top Right].

Then we pause and think how we can develop a narrative which builds on our perceived strengths whilst diminishing the other party’s strengths [so why don’t their strengths matter quite as much as they might think they do]

What do I need to do, say or be

In the bottom right of the grid – draw up a list and work out what you might need to do, say or be to change the balance of power – this is the narrative you need to persuade or negotiate with the other party. You might have to spend some time thinking about the other party and what they might want from you in return for accepting your proposal – these come from your currency list [things you can give].

There may come a point at which the gifts you need to give to get the proposal accepted becomes untenable – this is when you need to walk away and re think. The beauty of using the Power Grid is that you get forewarning of this potential situation when you work out the balance of power.

And remember….

… There is always… More Than 1 Answer